Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Francis Coffyn, 21 December 1779

From Francis Coffyn

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Dunkerque 21. Decr. 1779.

Hond Sir.

I had the honour of writing to your Excellency on the 6 inst, whereunto please to be referred. Agreable to my promise, I here inclose the two Bonds respecting the privateers Black Prince Capn. Patrick Dowlin and the Black Princess Capn. Edwd Maccatter, Sign’d by Mr. Riviere l’ainé, of Gravelinnes, and Messr. John Francis and Charles Torris7 of this place, owners of said privateers,8 and likewise two authentic Copys of the oath of alegiance to the united States, which I got administer’d to the Commanders, officers and crews of said privateers, before the Judge of the Admiralty Court of this place, of which I request your Excellency will occasionnally acknowledge the receipt. The said privateers Sail’d this morning, and as I am informed that there is a fleet of about 150 Sail of merchant ships ready to sail from the Downs under convoy of two Kings Cutters, if the privateers fall in with this Fleet, they will not remain inactif, for I never saw a Sett of more resolute fellows then those which compose their Crews.

I have the honour to remain with profound respect Your Excellencys most obedient and most humble Servant

Frans. Coffyn

His Excellency Dr. B. Franklin at Passi.

Notation: F Coffyn. Dec 21. 1779

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7Brother of the ships’ chief owner, John Torris: XXX, 575n.

8A number of others, including Dowlin and Macatter, also had bought shares in the privateers: Clark, Ben Franklin’s Privateers, pp. 23, 102–3.

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